NC State Faculty Teach Creatively with PlayPosit

Students work and study in the Hunt Library prior to the transition online.

With undergraduate courses taking place online, PlayPosit is a great way to engage students at a distance. Photo by Marc Hall.

PlayPosit has taken off at NC State. The enterprise-level technology transforms instructional videos into interactive learning tools, boosting student engagement, increasing long-term retention and offering instructors an effective new teaching strategy. 

With PlayPosit, faculty can tailor any video or presentation to their students’ understanding while gently assessing their progress and presenting them with new material to build on. Embedding questions, checkpoints and learning objectives in instructional videos, or bulbs, is one of the most popular ways to use PlayPosit, but the tool offers much more. The editor can add interactions such as discussion prompts, polls, surveys and third-party media. Students not only engage and interact with course material but receive points and feedback on their responses for continuous improvement. 

Hundreds of NC State faculty members and instructors have adopted PlayPosit into their courses, and many of them have explored its unique features in their teaching. We caught up with Director of the Environmental First Year Program Megan Lupek, Teaching Associate Professor Annette Moore, METRC Director Kerri Brown Parker and Teaching Associate Professor Julianne Treme to discuss how they use PlayPosit in creative and innovative ways to the benefit of their students. 

Enhanced Lessons

PlayPosit is known for its ability to turn an instructional video or virtual lecture into an engaging, dynamic learning experience. With undergraduate classes transitioning online due to COVID-19, many faculty members are leaning on PlayPosit to enhance student engagement remotely. 

Treme uses the tool to tailor her instructional videos according to her students’ specific needs. 

“Using this tool, I can ask questions at the exact time that I think is right for my students. I can also insert a pause that gives me a chance to emphasize an important point or even update my [bulb] to include new information,” she says. 

PlayPosit has not only impacted Treme’s lesson material but how she manages her course. This semester, she created a PlayPosit video for her syllabus, recording herself discussing key items and embedding questions throughout. Along the way, the tool has helped her think deeply about how to present information and guide critical thinking. 

“I have made new videos recently, and PlayPosit has influenced how I create the content for the videos because I am thinking of how to ask questions after I present the information.”

For Lupek and Moore, PlayPosit is a way to help students prepare for class and make the most of their time together. 

“I am in the process of providing lecture videos with embedded PlayPosit questions to my ENV 101: Exploring the Environment course. This way, the students are held accountable for watching the lecture video before coming to class, where we can focus on in-class activities,” Lupek says. 

Asynchronous Learning

Whether it’s used for homework assignments, lectures or lesson primers, Parker says PlayPosit offers opportunities to organize asynchronous instruction and create more engaging skill and concept introductions for students. 

Lupek notes that PlayPosit provides her students with low-stakes opportunities to earn points. Students are able to re-try each bulb to maximize the number of points earned, which are automatically counted in the grade book. 

“I assign videos with embedded questions on the content as homework assignments in ES 100: Introduction to Environmental Science. These are short videos that supplement my recorded lectures and provide real-life examples of course content. For example, one video documents The Great Elephant Census, a project that sought to determine the population sizes of African elephants, and serves as an example for the course’s unit on Population Biology,” she says. 

Student Success

With PlayPosit, students have many opportunities to enhance their own learning. When instructors augment their lectures and videos with embedded questions and checkpoints, students are able to download and/or print the answer sheet to use as a study guide for exams, a strategy that Lupek recommends. 

Treme likes to open discussion boards in PlayPosit, allowing students to discuss concepts with each other as they work through a video. 

“Many students noted how helpful [these videos] were in making sure that they were concentrating on the important information instead of passively watching with no intervention or guidance,” Treme says. 

More than 12,000 NC State students actively use PlayPosit. Incorporating these tactics can make their experience even better. DELTA has developed resources to help instructors start using PlayPosit in their courses.

Look out for DELTA Workshops on PlayPosit to start learning the basics and walk through the tool’s most effective features. Visit PlayPosit’s instructor resources for step-by-step instructions on how to build interactive videos, check out an overview of PlayPosit in the DELTA Knowledge Base and contact DELTA LearnTech at learntech@ncsu.edu with specific questions. 

For more information and updates regarding PlayPosit, head to go.ncsu.edu/delta-playposit.